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Thommy Melanson
03-08-2008, 02:38 PM
By MEAD GRUVER, Associated Press Writer

CASPER, Wyo. - Sen. Barack Obama captured the Wyoming Democratic caucuses Saturday, seizing a bit of momentum in the close, hard-fought race with rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton for the party's presidential nomination.

Obama generally has outperformed Clinton in caucuses, which reward organization and voter passion more than do primaries. The Illinois senator has now won 13 caucuses to Clinton's three.

Obama has also shown strength in the Mountain West, winning Idaho, Utah, Colorado and now Wyoming. The two split Nevada, with Clinton winning the popular vote and Obama more delegates.

But Clinton threw some effort into Wyoming, perhaps hoping for an upset that would yield few delegates but considerable buzz and momentum. The New York senator campaigned Friday in Cheyenne and Casper. Former President Clinton and their daughter, Chelsea, also campaigned this week in the sprawling and lightly populated state.

Obama campaigned in Casper and Laramie on Friday, but spent part of his time dealing with the fallout from an aide's harsh words about Clinton and suggestions that Obama wouldn't move as quickly to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq if elected. In Casper, Obama said Clinton had no standing to challenge his position on the war because she had voted to authorize it in 2002.

Clinton, buoyed by big wins in Ohio and Texas last Tuesday, said she faced an uphill fight in Wyoming. Her campaign also holds out little hope for Tuesday's primary in Mississippi, which has a large black population.

Obama had 59 percent, or 4,459 votes, to Clinton's 40 percent, or 3,081 votes, with 22 of 23 Wyoming counties reporting.

Obama won seven delegates and Clinton won five. In the overall race for the nomination, Obama led 1,578-1,468, according to the latest tally by The Associated Press. It will take 2,025 delegates to win the Democratic nomination.

Obama's campaign credited the candidate's message for the win.

"Especially in the intermountain West, people are hungry for something different, people are hungry for someone who's a uniter, who can bring together a coalition of change," said Gabe Cohen, Obama's state director in Wyoming.

Clinton's campaign took heart in their ability to pick up more delegates.

"We knew that Wyoming was an uphill climb and that Senator Obama was expected to win," said Ben Kobren, a spokesman for Clinton's campaign in Wyoming. "We're glad we were able to bring out our grassroots support and come very close in delegates."

Both candidates were looking ahead to the bigger prize delegate-rich Pennsylvania on April 22.

From the first caucuses of the day, it became clear the state's Democrats were showing up in large numbers. In 2004, a mere 675 people statewide took part in the caucuses.

In Sweetwater County, more than 500 people crowded into a high school auditorium and another 500 were lined up to get inside.

"I'm worried about where we're going to put them all. But I guess everybody's got the same problem," said Joyce Corcoran, a local party official. "So far we're OK. But man, they keep coming."

Party officials struggled with how to handle the overflow crowds. The start of the Converse County caucus was delayed due to long lines.

In Cheyenne, scores of late arrivers were turned away when party officials stopped allowing people to get in line at 11 a.m. EST. A party worker stood at the end of the line with a sign reading, "End of the line. Caucus rules require the voter registration process to be closed at this time."

State party spokesman Bill Luckett said they were obligated to follow its rules as well as those of the Democratic National Committee regarding caucus procedures.

"Everybody knew the registration began over an hour before the caucus was called to order. We've done everything we could to accommodate people in the long lines," Luckett said.

After initially accepting provisional ballots from about 20 people who remained behind at the caucus site, party officials said they and both campaigns had decided not to count those votes. John Millin, state party chair, said doing so would have been unfair to those who had left after being turned away.

In Casper, home of the state party's headquarters, hundreds were lined up at the site of the Natrona County caucus. The location was a hotel meeting room with a capacity of 500. Some 7,700 registered Democrats live in the county.

"We'll have to put 'em in the grass after a while," said Bob Warburton, a local party official.

About 59,000 registered Democrats are eligible to participate in Wyoming's caucuses.

Only in the last few weeks have the campaigns stepped up their presence in Wyoming, opening offices and calling voters and sending mailers.

Although a win in Wyoming may not persuade many superdelegates, it will be one more prize for the candidates as they make their case for the nomination.

Clinton has hinted recently that if she wins the nomination she would consider sharing the ticket with Obama. But in an interview Friday in Wyoming with KTVQ-TV, a CBS affiliate based in Billings, Mont., Obama shied away from that possibility.

"Well, you know, I think it's premature. You won't see me as a vice presidential candidate you know, I'm running for president," Obama told the television station. "We have won twice as many states as Senator Clinton, and have a higher popular vote, and I think we can maintain our delegate count.

"What I am really focused on right now, because all that stuff is premature, is winning this nomination and changing the country. I think that's what people here are concerned about."

___

Associated Press writers Bob Moen in Casper, Matt Joyce and Ben Neary in Cheyenne contributed to this report.

NeverWanderer
03-08-2008, 02:40 PM
You know why, right...?

::looks down::

Ray G.
03-08-2008, 02:40 PM
BIG MO! :lol:

Seriously, it's a caucus in freaking Wyoming. Mississippi will give him a little more momentum, though. But with six weeks after that, I doubt it'll have much of an effect. These just aren't big enough to affect things. But with the race as it is, every single delegate and vote matters.

Amos Moses
03-08-2008, 02:42 PM
BIG MO! :lol:

Seriously, it's a caucus in freaking Wyoming. Mississippi will give him a little more momentum, though. But with six weeks after that, I doubt it'll have much of an effect. These just aren't big enough to affect things. But with the race as it is, every single delegate and vote matters.

Kindly shove your elitism up your ass. Obama has won every single Mountain state save for Nevada. Howard Dean was smart to realize the future of American poltics lies in the West.

Thommy Melanson
03-08-2008, 02:42 PM
BIG MO! :lol:

Seriously, it's a caucus in freaking Wyoming. Mississippi will give him a little more momentum, though. But with six weeks after that, I doubt it'll have much of an effect. These just aren't big enough to affect things. But with the race as it is, every single delegate and vote matters.

The voter turnout is quite amusing.

More people read Manhunter!

Ray G.
03-08-2008, 02:43 PM
Kindly shove your elitism up your ass. Obama has won every single Mountain state save for Nevada. Howard Dean was smart to realize the future of American poltics lies in the West.

The size of the state is unimportant, the fact that it goes Republican by 20+ points is.

Joe Henderson
03-08-2008, 02:45 PM
BIG MO! :lol:

Seriously, it's a caucus in freaking Wyoming. Mississippi will give him a little more momentum, though. But with six weeks after that, I doubt it'll have much of an effect. These just aren't big enough to affect things. But with the race as it is, every single delegate and vote matters.

The key isn't as much creating momentum for Obama as much as ending Hillary's. Obviously Wyoming doesn't matter much, but it's a win and it's also another state they can light up in Obama's color whenever that map comes up.

This halts Hillary's momentum (a bit, at least), and Mississippi should fully stop it and hopefully give him a tiny bit of his own.

Thommy Melanson
03-08-2008, 02:46 PM
The size of the state is unimportant, the fact that it goes Republican by 20+ points is.

Even that's not really important, except that it will be one of the few states that go Republican in November.

That electoral map gonna's be mostly blue this year!

Ashwin Pande
03-08-2008, 02:47 PM
Isn't Cheney from Casper, Wyoming?

Ray G.
03-08-2008, 02:47 PM
Even that's not really important, except that it will be one of the few states that go Republican in November.

That electoral map gonna's be mostly blue this year!

If by "mostly blue" you mean "We hope to switch a few of Ohio, Missouri, Virginia, Colorado, and Florida to blue" then yeah.

Brad N.
03-08-2008, 02:48 PM
The size of the state is unimportant, the fact that it goes Republican by 20+ points is.

They said the same about Montana in 2006, remember? Times change.

Ray G.
03-08-2008, 02:50 PM
They said the same about Montana in 2006, remember? Times change.

What, Montana's a blue state now?

They outsted a corrupt Senator. Hell, North Dakota has two liberal Dems for Senators, and they still go GOP by 25% or more each time.

The electoral map is a lot less open than both sides want to believe. McCain isn't winning New Jersey, and Obama's not winning Montana or Wyoming.

Amos Moses
03-08-2008, 02:50 PM
The size of the state is unimportant, the fact that it goes Republican by 20+ points is.

Only in recent Presidential and Federal Elections does the GOP have the current advantage. But keep in mind Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona, and New Mexico all have Democratic Governors. The Northeast and South may be decided, but the West is very much up for grabs. If the Democrats take the time to campaign here and pitch their platform, they can win. If Obama does get the nom, he will have a chance here.

Thommy Melanson
03-08-2008, 02:50 PM
If by "mostly blue" you mean "We hope to switch a few of Ohio, Missouri, Virginia, Colorado, and Florida to blue" then yeah.

You can't possibly think McCain's actually going to win.

I realize you have to put up a brave front and all, but deep down you know it's a Democrat presidency this time.

Matt Jay
03-08-2008, 02:50 PM
So what? It's only a big deal when Hillary wins one.

Amos Moses
03-08-2008, 02:51 PM
Isn't Cheney from Casper, Wyoming?

Yeah, not quiet sure what went wrong with him. I blame his time in Texas.

Brad N.
03-08-2008, 03:03 PM
What, Montana's a blue state now?

They outsted a corrupt Senator. Hell, North Dakota has two liberal Dems for Senators, and they still go GOP by 25% or more each time.

The electoral map is a lot less open than both sides want to believe. McCain isn't winning New Jersey, and Obama's not winning Montana or Wyoming.

And a Democrat won the governorship as well. I'm not saying it's a blue state, but it's less red than you think.

Ryan Elliott
03-08-2008, 03:03 PM
Ba:rock:!!!

PhilipClark
03-09-2008, 09:40 AM
<----------is very proud of his former home state.

Seriously. This is a big deal, as far as Wyoming is concerned. I would have sworn they'd be pro-Hillary all the way. Well done.

Unfortunately, Ray's right that by the general election the state as a whole will swing to McCain.

greg donovan
03-09-2008, 09:45 AM
What, Montana's a blue state now?

They outsted a corrupt Senator. Hell, North Dakota has two liberal Dems for Senators, and they still go GOP by 25% or more each time.

The electoral map is a lot less open than both sides want to believe. McCain isn't winning New Jersey, and Obama's not winning Montana or Wyoming.

we keep sending the dems to the senate because the work hard for things that will benefit north dakotans. they have done a lot of good for the state.

Nick Spencer
03-09-2008, 10:49 AM
The size of the state is unimportant, the fact that it goes Republican by 20+ points is.

And here I always thought the goal was to get the candidate that keeps the votes you have while making the best play for the ones you don't.

Apparently, Democrats should fixate only on the states they already lose with.

I mean, you just said yourself, New Jersey ain't going red. So why do I care if Clinton does better there than Obama? I'm more interested in the candidate who does better with the states we DON'T take for granted.

This is a region that's shown a willingness to elect Democrats to a lot of offices, so it's a wise move for Dems to take a shot at contesting these states soon in the Presidential race.

I will say, unfortunately, that this may not be the year for that, given the GOP picked a western Senator.

But these states aren't as committed to Republicans as the southern states are. They can be picked off at some point down the road, don't let previous margins fool you-- it's easy to get blown out when you spend no money or time there.

Something Hillary learned the hard way.

Ray G.
03-09-2008, 10:51 AM
And here I always thought the goal was to get the candidate that keeps the votes you have while making the best play for the ones you don't.

Apparently, Democrats should fixate only on the states they already lose with.

I mean, you just said yourself, New Jersey ain't going red. So why do I care if Clinton does better there than Obama? I'm more interested in the candidate who does better with the states we DON'T take for granted.

This is a region that's shown a willingness to elect Democrats to a lot of offices, so it's a wise move for Dems to take a shot at contesting these states soon in the Presidential race.

I will say, unfortunately, that this may not be the year for that, given the GOP picked a western Senator.

I know about the Western strategy, but I thought the plan there was to get more hispanics to go Dem in states like Colorado/New Mexico/Nevada. I didn't think Montana/Wyoming was part of that plan.

It's a good strategy, but it might suffer this year because not only is McCain from the region, he's well-liked by Latinos.

Nick Spencer
03-09-2008, 10:52 AM
I know about the Western strategy, but I thought the plan there was to get more hispanics to go Dem in states like Colorado/New Mexico/Nevada. I didn't think Montana/Wyoming was part of that plan.

It's a good strategy, but it might suffer this year because not only is McCain from the region, he's well-liked by Latinos.

Yeah, I'll be the first to agree McCain makes pulling this off much harder than if it had been Romney, Huckabee, or Rudy.

Ray G.
03-09-2008, 10:55 AM
Yeah, I'll be the first to agree McCain makes pulling this off much harder than if it had been Romney, Huckabee, or Rudy.

It's really hard to predict anything right now while the Dem side is so up in the air.

I saw a poll today in the New York Post indicating that Hillary outperforms Obama among Democrats, while Obama massively outperform her among independents. And we can't know which side will be pissed and why until this is resolved.

Meanwhile, Dean really seems to be putting the squeeze on Michigan and Florida to hold do-overs, but Hillary wants the original votes to count and Obama doesn't know what he wants. Oy.